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Why would I have an enlarged lymph node in my breast?

By Anonymous April 16, 2009 - 6:21am
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I am a 30 y.o. female with no family history of breast cancer. I found a lump in my right breast a short while ago. Over the next few weeks I had 2 sets of mammograms and an ultrasound done. I called my gyn daily to get the results of the tests, and when they finally came in the FNP returned my call. She stated that it was benign, and when I questioned her further she said it was an enlarged lymph node. Not being a pushy person, and I didn't really have any questions prepared for this scenario I let it go and hung up. Now I can't find any info online for why I would have an enlarged lymph node in my breast. From what I'm finding it must not be a common place, because I have yet to find anything.

So, my question is...Is this something that should be further tested? It is still the same size as when I found it about a month and a half ago. The only other symptom I am having is that occasionally my breast will ache slightly. It's usually only for a few seconds and it quits. It occurs maybe 1-2 times a day.

Add a Comment154 Comments

(reply to Pat Elliott)

Pat -
Thank you so much. Of course, this will be a very long weekend for me. Being an RN and the best friend of a cancer survivor, I am a huge proponent of we (women) have to encourage one another and advocate for ourselves. Often times, when situations are questionable some healthcare workers become "complacent". I have a complicating factor if indeed my lymph node is positive. I was diagnosed with an Atrial Septal Defect last year. My atrial septal wall looks like swiss cheese and to complicate matters more I under went an ablation for a tachycardic rhythm January, 2010. I have placed the septal repair on hold until we are sure the rhythm is is fixed. But, chemotherapy and ASD share the same complicating factor - Pulmonary Emboli. I will continue to check in with everyone!!!!

October 28, 2010 - 2:37pm

Oh and by the way, Stress and periods seem to bring these boils on. Also, smoking makes it worse.

September 23, 2010 - 3:31am
(reply to dlstump)

Hi D

We actually have a little section on this and have had other questions, so you may find support among the women who have written about it. http://bit.ly/9wCxFe. I have a friend with this and it is absolutely miserable for her.

Thanks for sharing your story.

September 23, 2010 - 6:37am


Thank you for your response and you're right, stressing is making it worse and I've tried everything possible not to stress but it doesn't work all the time. It's aweful that doctors take these things so lightly and tell you it's nothing, one doctor told me that we didn't have lymph nodes/glands in our breasts, which left me very puzzled because from reading here, I see that in fact we do. They give us vague information and take their time to send us for tests or give us results while we understandably stress because unfortunately thousands of women are being diagnosed with breast cancer every day and many die because it's not detected soon enough. If only we got answers and testing done quickly, it would make us feel a lot better. I will finally be going for the ultrasound tomorrow after a month of pain, complaining, and hoping they take me seriously. I'm praying everything goes well. I will keep you posted and hope that everything goes well for everyone here. Thanks again!

September 20, 2010 - 8:31am
(reply to sandee)

Hello all, I finally got a diagnosis on some issues I was having with boils in arm pit and groin area, I know it doesn't sound like this feed, but I found out this genetic condition called Hidrademitis supperativa is inherited and due to the infection it is causing my enlarged lympnoids. This condition is also an Immune Disorder. Does anyone have boils at panty line, arm pits, buttocks, and/or under breasts that seem to be recurring and never seem to go completely away? Typically people with Immune disorders have this problem too. There is no cure for it, but can cause a variety of issues if left untreated. If so, read up on Hidradenitis Supperativa. Only help is topical antibiotics, washing with Antibacterial soap, taking oral antibiotics. I've done all these things for 20 plus years now and still get these. They are painful as they get huge. Largest I have had is tennis ball size boils. Please let me know if any of you with enlarged lympnoids with Hashi, graves or any other Immune condition have these recurring boils.

September 23, 2010 - 3:28am

Hello, I'm 36 years old and a month ago started having stomach problems, nausea, dizziness, low night fevers..etc., I figured I had a stomach bug but at the same time began to feel pain under my armpit that spread to the breast area closest to the armpit. I asked my doctor about this pain, he said, he felt no lumps and that it was probably my lymph nodes bothering me as a result of the stomach bug and that it would go away soon. My dizziness got so bad I went to the ER one night and also complained to the ER doctor about the breast pain but he said he felt no lumps and told me not to worry about it, he said I had vertigo. It's been a month, I am feeling a little better from my stomach although I still get dizzy after I eat and wake up nauseaus from time to time but the pain under my arm and breast is still there. I'm terrified, I saw another doctor and he's sending me for an ultrasound. I can't seem to calm my nerves, I know I need to stay calm and positive but I can't, I cry every day waiting for the ultrasound. I don't know how to calm my nerves, I'm extremely scared. I'm hoping to find some support here! Thank you all in advanced!

September 20, 2010 - 6:38am
(reply to sandee)

Hi Sandee

I know how scary this situation is, because I have been there myself. However, it is entirely possible the area is inflamed due to infection. I'm glad you are going to have an ultrasound. It's important to see just what is going on in there. But there are many things besides cancer that could be causing this issue.

Panicking does not help your immune system, or your vertigo or nausea. It is not easy to stay calm, but it's important to try so you don't make yourself feel worse. Pain is not usually an initial symptom of breast cancer. All of your symptoms could be attributed to infection.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

September 20, 2010 - 7:03am
(reply to Cary Cook BSN RN)

ok, i'll have to disagree to the comment about pain not associated w/breast cancer. i am finding an alarming number of professionals who are UNAWARE of the MOST AGGRESSIVE type of breast cancer there is- IBC. Inflammatory Breast Cancer most often has NO LUMP and is not typically found by mammogram or ultrasound. It is a SUPER FAST moving cancer and when it's FINALLY diagnosed, you're at LEAST stage III. It CAN look like a rash, red spot, bug bite, bruise, orange peel texture, inverted nipple, mastitus, ringworm......and have a hot sensation, itching or not, and many other things. RULING OUT IBC IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SURVIVAL. the ONLY way to rule it out is by a punch biopsy- and even then, you have to see someone who actually knows WHAT they're looking for, as IBC cells are different than regular BC cells.


November 25, 2010 - 12:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Naptastik)

Naptastik - You have offered important information but you need to add that IBC is quite rare and usually does not present as a swollen lymph node as described in many of the postings. As a health care provider I can tell you that we see many presentations of many conditions day in and day out. I do wish some of my colleagues were better communicators and offered more reassurances to frightened patients. But always - if you are not comfortable with your Dr's visit, get a second opinion!

February 4, 2011 - 10:22am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Over the past few months my left breast has become slightly larger than the right. I went to one doctor who said it was a common change due to hormones. A second opinion Doctor sent me for an ultrasound as she felt 2 lumps. The ultrasound showed 1 lump, and the radiologist believes it to be a lymph node. It is only 5mm, and has not changed in size since my Mamm/US 6 months ago. He was not very concerned, but offered me the option to have an ultra sound guided core biopsy , which I am going to do. My question is, if my breast enlargement is an early sign of IBC, would a biopsy of this palpable lymph node be able to detect the cancer? Or should I push for further surgical consultation on the enlargement issue?

On a side note, my radiologist said that although my lymph node was palpable, it was small, and not enlarged. This is contradictory to some of the info I have found online which indicates if it is palpable, its enlarged. Any tie breaking opinions on the issue?

December 15, 2011 - 4:42pm
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